Learn the channels that private investigators learn to master when it comes to interrogation and how they separate themselves from the task at hand. Much like medical professionals or others in high-stress occupations who work with tense and difficult situations, private investigators have a specific approach to addressing this.
What is the Interrogator’s mindset and how do they navigate the tough waters of dealing with the most extreme sides of humanity?
What many investigators learn early on is the Reid Technique or the practice of getting at truth by establishing a connection or “rapport” with the suspect. The Reid Technique reinforces the value of maintaining a non-judgmental exterior while listening to the suspect or the person being interview.
In a recent article by Louis C. Senese, VP of John E. Reid and Associates, Inc, “It’s Not Personal; It’s Business” Senese explains the value of using the Reid Technique.
“By adopting a mental discipline of suppressing all signs of adverse emotions during an interrogation — anger, disgust, revulsion, sarcasm, revenge, etc. — the trained investigator has a better chance of developing rapport with a subject and thereby greatly improve the probability of obtaining the truth through a fully corroborated confession.”
To do this, “you have to be a good actor,” he adds.
He also adds three practical tips that the investigator needs to sharpen his or her skills. These, are respectively channels 1, 2 and 3—channel 1 we will share today and the others in future blogs.
Channel 1: The Verbal Channel
In the first channel, emphasis is placed on sending a specific message and working with semantics to be careful about which words you choose. This allows the investigator to control what Senese refers to as “the uniqueness or horrific nature of the suspect’s crime.”
Here are a couple examples he gives:
DON’T SAY: In a theft or embezzlement case some of my counterparts in the financial industry tend to initiate the interrogation by saying: “You were involved in the defalcation of all the funds from our institution.”
INSTEAD SAY: “Our investigation indicates you took the missing money.”
DON’T SAY: In a sexual harassment investigation, rather than accusing the suspect of “sexual harassment” to describe the same event.
INSTEAD SAY: It’s preferable to initiate the interrogation with a statement that refers to the suspect “sexually touching” or “making a sexual comment.”
These second options allow the suspect to “save face and dignity in the eyes of an experienced interrogator.”
What strategies do you use as an investigator to get at the information you are searching for in an investigation? What about the equipment to record it?